What it is: Delicious tasting Irish butter
Bonnie: What I recall most about Ireland is the rolling emerald green hills dotted with slate stone walls in the perfect symmetry of the Inca’s structures at Machu Picchu. That and their delicious butter. It’s naturally golden from the beta-carotene-rich grass consumed by their dairy cows who produce the milk that’s turned into the butter.
Kerrygold butter is delicious on fresh-baked bread, toast, biscuits or anything you can think of to spread it on. It’s fabulous in sauces, pie crusts and — of course — all baked goods. Thought I’d share some of those butter-based goodies with you.
My baking career began before I hit double digits; my baking mentor, Lenore Rosenberg, shared all her tips and recipes with me. Lenore, who was my late mom’s best friend, was like my second mother. She enjoyed teaching me “her daughter” how to bake. (She, like me, had only sons!) To this day I still make many of her recipes (her sour cream coffee cake is legendary), and follow her helpful tips, including:
“Be sure all your refrigerated ingredients are at room temperature before you start.”
What follows are decadent, full-fat, recipes for delicious baked goods. Indulge prudently.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake Beat 8 ounces (1 cup) butter and 1 c sugar until well blended and creamy using a mixer. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 c sour cream. In a small bowl, combine 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour, 1 T baking powder, 1 t baking soda and 1/4 t salt; add to the first mixture a little at a time until blended. Stir in 1 t pure vanilla extract and 1 t pure lemon extract. Batter will be very thick.
Spread a third of the batter in the bottom of a greased 10-inch round springform pan (That’s one with removable sides.) Combine 1/2 c chopped walnuts (or almonds), 1/2 c sugar and 1 t ground cinnamon; sprinkle half over batter in the pan. Add the remaining batter; sprinkle with remaining nut mixture.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50 minutes (60 minutes if raining), or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs adhering to it. Cool completely on rack before loosening and removing the outer ring of the springform pan.
When Joanne Hayes and I began testing recipes for “365 Great Cookies & Brownies” the title of the book was “365 Great Cookies & Cakes.” The publisher decided they only wanted cookies and brownies in that book. I had already tested (and loved) this chocolate chip banana cake for that manuscript, so I thought I’d share it now. It’s one that I made and sent to each of the boys when away at school.
Again, as per Lenore’s baking tip, be sure to have your refrigerated ingredients at room temperature. I make this in a food processor, but you can also make it using a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer.
Easy-to-Make Banana Chocolate Chip “Bread” Place 3 overripe bananas, 1 T fresh lemon juice, 1 c sugar, 4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter and 2 eggs in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade; process until the mixture is well blended. Add 2 c all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 t baking powder, 1/2 t baking soda and a pinch of salt; pulse just until the flour’s mixed in. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula; pulse once more. Add 1 c (or 1 1/2 c if you like it extra chocolatey) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks; pulse once to mix in.
Pour batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (other than some chocolate that may stick to it!). Let cool on rack in pan for 10 minutes, loosen the edges and turn onto the rack to cool completely, right side up.
By the way, you can use Eagle Mills All-Purpose Flour in any of these recipes.
Bryan: All foods are not created equal. (I think Thomas Jefferson wrote that!) It has become only too obvious in my years of serious eating that only best ingredients make the best meals. The greatest chefs in the world are very talented, no doubt about it, but they create great food because they use the best products. We might not all be masters in the kitchen, but we can all taste the difference between Caprese salads made with store-bought and heirloom tomatoes. Good meals start with quality: fresh, well-butchered meats, naturally grown fruits and vegetables and only the best kitchen staples–like Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter. Butter plays a part in so many culinary productions, both savory and sweet. Kerrygold has a lush richness that brings life to dishes from béarnaise sauce to poached lobster, though I think it’s best spread over crusty bread or melted on hot pancakes.
Eric: Darina Allen. That’s the only thought that comes to mind as I sit at the keyboard and wonder how to put my thoughts down about this magnificently smooth, tasty butter. I had the privilege of working with the “Chef of Ireland” (and owner of the famed Ballymaloe Cooking School in County Cork) when she catered a private function in the kitchen of Craft, the trendy New York City restaurant renowned for its à la carte menu and contemporary American cuisine. I was asked to be a helping hand for the event; preparing the mise en place (the chef’s basic ingredients, measured and cut) for the dinner, fine-tuning sauces, and learning how to make Darina’s “simple” breads. She’s quite a personality, obsessive in the ways you expect a chef to be, and very patriotic about the products of her home country of Ireland. Working with her on her breads is one of my fondest memories (to me, she beat out bread master Charlie Van Over—author of The Best Bread Ever for the coveted first place bread baker); her Irish soda breads are truly delicious. She was in town to promote her new cookbook, but in the kitchen with me (and a few of the staff members from Craft) she focused on whipping up a few of her creations for us to taste. But I digress. I can honestly say I’d never really appreciated good butter until I slathered a helping of the Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter onto a fresh, fragrant slice of her Irish soda bread. She told us she usually used it in her other baking (not in the breads), but that she preferred it on a nice warm piece of bread. To this day, I can remember biting into that bread and just stopping to think for a moment how tasty life can be….
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